This Sunday, the fields surrounding William Farley Field House are expected to be filled with students, alumni and faculty participating in the “Ultimate Mensches” ultimate tournament, hosted by the ultimate frisbee teams in conjunction with Bowdoin Hillel. The tournament will be held in memory of Theo Danzig ’22, who passed away last fall.
The ultimate teams have known since last year that they wanted to host an event to honor Danzig, and this summer, they landed on hosting a memorial tournament.
“Theo meant a lot to everyone on the team. He was a very involved member. He really loved frisbee. We wanted to share that with the rest of the community and have something that cemented his place on the team and what he meant to all of us,” captain Lily Fanburg ’23 said.
The ultimate teams collaborated with Bowdoin Hillel, an organization which Danzig was a co-president of, to make sure that another vital part of his identity was represented during the day. Bowdoin Hillel contributed to the event’s funding and will also have members playing in and speaking at the tournament.
The tournament will consist of teams of a minimum eight players playing in a non-competitive bracket. The four-on-four games will be played on a condensed ultimate field. When teams sign up, they rank their competitive spirit and level of prior frisbee experience, and in an effort to keep the tournament fun for everyone, teams with similar levels will compete against one another in a round robin format.
“Theo took frisbee really seriously, but he also took having fun really seriously. I think having a day dedicated to just remembering him and having fun in his name is a really important way to continue his legacy,” captain Deva Holliman ’23 said.
The day starts at 10 a.m., with an optional learn-to-play session aimed at making the tournament more inclusive.
“Having it open to everyone [was important to us],” Fanburg said. “Theo was very much the kind of person that would point to a random person and go, ‘You should join frisbee! You should join!’ So I think having it be a schoolwide event and encouraging as many people as possible to join in on the fun is really in his spirit.”
The tournament will begin with an opening ceremony, where members of the community and people who knew Danzig will speak. There will be food trucks for a lunch break in between games, and the day will conclude with a closing ceremony. Throughout the day, the ultimate teams will also be putting together a video and book of participants’ memories of Danzig to send to his family, who the team consulted with but are unable to attend.
While there will be no official tournament champion, the ultimate team will be selecting “Spirit of the Game” winners throughout the day. “Spirit of the Game” is a long-held tradition in frisbee where teams select a player from the other team that exemplifies good sportsmanship and a love for the game. This Sunday, “Spirit of the Game” winners will receive a Bowdoin Hillel “Mensch of the Week” pin.
“[Hillel] hands them out to someone who’s been a great member or awesome person in the community every week. So, we will be handing out some ‘Mensch of the Week’ pins to people who are really just making the day great for everyone around them,” Fanburg said.
Mensch is a Yiddish word that Bowdoin Hillel co-president Lia Kornmehl ’23 believes perfectly encapsulates who Danzig was.
“It’s [a word that] describes the best of a community. [Theo] was a good guy. That’s what being a mensch is all about. It’s being a rock for the people around you and a rock for the community. That was definitely Theo,” Kornmehl said.
Holliman is looking forward to celebrating Danzig in a way that the team believes he would appreciate.
“[Theo] embodied all the best qualities of frisbee,” Holliman said. “It’s a wacky sport and a wacky group of people. It’s all about really being yourself and having fun and enjoying the people around you. Theo embodied that 100 percent.”